Pres. Trump announced in a memorandum Tuesday the termination of the Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) program which had allowed about 3,500 Liberians to live and work in the U.S. since it took effect in 1999. There are currently 839 Liberians working in the U.S. under the program. To ensure an "orderly transition" for both DED beneficiaries and the Liberian government, the President has granted a "12-month wind-down period", starting March 31, 2018, for Liberian citizens to make arrangements for their return, and the Liberian government to prepare accordingly for receiving and reintegrating them. To ensure an "orderly transition" for both DED beneficiaries and the Liberian government, the President has granted a "12-month wind-down period", starting March 31, 2018, for Liberian citizens to make arrangements for their return, and the Liberian government to prepare accordingly for receiving and reintegrating them.
Pres. Clinton initially authorized the DED program in 1999 for Liberians following the end of a civil war and reauthorized the 1-year program after it expired. The program has since been reauthorized repeatedly by both the Obama and Bush Administrations. Though the terms of the most recent 18-month extension, authorized by Pres. Obama in 2016, are set to expire by March 31, 2018, Pres. Trump’s "wind-down" pushes the termination date to March 31, 2019.
"Through consultation with appropriate executive departments and agencies and my advisors, I have been informed that conditions in Liberia have improved. Liberia is no longer experiencing armed conflict and has made significant progress in restoring stability and democratic governance. Liberia has also concluded reconstruction from prior conflicts, which has contributed significantly to an environment that is able to handle adequately the return of its nationals ...
"Accordingly, I find that conditions in Liberia no longer warrant a further extension of DED, but that the foreign policy interests of the United States warrant affording an orderly transition (“wind-down”) period to Liberian DED beneficiaries. In consultation with my advisors, I have concluded that a 12‑month wind‑down period is appropriate in order to provide Liberia’s government with time to reintegrate its returning citizens and to allow DED beneficiaries who are not eligible for other forms of immigration relief to make necessary arrangements and to depart the United States."
Liberian DED beneficiaries who either do not meet the criteria outlined in the memorandum for remaining in the U.S. or are not eligible for other avenues of immigration relief have until March 31, 2019 to return to Liberia. Until then, Liberian DED recipients will be permitted to continue living and working in the U.S.
For more on this story, see the Associated Press.
Updated: Wed, Apr 11th 2018 @ 12:35pm EDT